The Wall Speech and Why America's Fastest Growing Occupation is Trump Fact-Checking
Most Americans don't trust Donald Trump to tell the truth and they really never have going all the way back to the 2016 election. In the 2016 exit polls Just 33% of voters said Trump was honest and trustworthy and a whopping 64% said he was not. The Washington Post still keeps tabs on all of the President's lies, thousands of them, but it seems almost beside the point because even his supporters don't expect him to tell the truth.
The press in America is still trying to figure out how to cover a President who lies about almost everything, big and small. For now, they seem to have settled on "enhanced fact-checking" and it has become a staple of their coverage of Trump. Last night's "wall speech" is a case in point. Before, during, and after the speech, newspapers and networks, including Fox, employed dozens of journalists and policy analysts to parse Trump's claims about the situation at our southern border the relative merits of the President's wall. It was brutal.
NPR: Claim 4: Illegal drugs
Trump: "Our Southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs. ... My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers. It's a tremendous problem."
Fact check: According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most illegal drugs imported to the U.S. from Mexico are smuggled through legal ports of entry. Only a small fraction comes through parts of the border that would be covered by a wall.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith wasn't any kinder to the President. Point by point, he eviscerated Trump's argument for a wall.
Newsweek: Smith said: “The government’s statistics show that there is less violent crime by the immigrant population than by the general population. He talked about drug crossings at the border, but government statistics show that much of the heroin actually comes not from over the unguarded border but through [legal] ports of call.
“He talked about undocumented crossings over the past months; in fact the number of undocumented crossings over the southern border has been steadily down over the last 10 years, and the government reports that there is more outward traffic than inward traffic.”
Calvin Woodward and Colleen Long of the Associated Press published one of the most comprehensive fact-checks of the speech here.
The bottom line is that Trump's speech and the legions of fact-checkers won't change anyone's mind regarding the wall and the government shut-down. The wall is simply a symbol to the President and his supporters, whether or not it would actually accomplish anything. To them, it would say that we are closing ourselves off to the world, that we reject globalism and our increasing racial and ethnic diversity. All the fact-checking in the world won't change the minds of those who want to return to a more homogeneous America, free of the challenges posed by a global economy.